all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Sunday, November 29, 2009

He-Man Brats


“One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating.  And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”  Laurie Colwin
The above quote was surely referring to brats, a huge people friendly food.  Brats were probably born for summer time and the grill but, if its fall, that means it’s football season and brat time!

 Just try this recipe and you’ll find they are just as good, if not better, prepared inside.  It’s bratwurst with a twist because of the mild sweet Spanish onions and cabbage that are simmered in beer and flavored with spices.  They are simmered until the beer reduces, caramelizing the onions and cabbage till it turns into a delicious golden sauce. And remember, the better the beer, the better the flavor.

He-Man Brats are definitely a hit at my house and ladies, I’m betting your man will love them also.  They are not usually consumed with wine or other pretentious drinks, they are meant to be washed down with your favorite beer, as in “bratwash!”   

He-Man Brats


6 bratwurst
1 large Spanish onion, sliced
1/2 small head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 c. water
1/2 c. mustard, your favorite type
1/4 c. dill pickle juice
1/2 t. dill
1/4 t. caraway seeds
1 bottle dark beer

Brown brats in skillet over medium heat.  Add all ingredients in order given, stirring well after each addition. 

Cover and let cook for 30 minutes on medium heat.  Stir and continue covered cooking for about 30 minutes on medium-low heat till done.

Place on platter and serve with Bratwurst buns or French bread and your favorite side dishes. 

Mmmm bratwurst!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Best Blueberry Pancakes

Aren’t the flowers absolutely gorgeous?  Kathy, Matt’s girlfriend, made the fantastic arrangement and it includes my favorite colors and flowers:  roses, carnations, mums and the striking winterberry buds in different shades of red and gold, all surrounded at the base by cranberries.  Absolutely beautiful!!!  

Awaiting our guests for breakfast, on the morning after Thanksgiving, were the flowers adorning the table spread with fluffy blueberry pancakes and maple syrup, crisp bacon, tasty sausage links and good hot coffee.  This is a very easy recipe that makes great fluffy and light pancakes.  The addition of healthy blueberries makes them very flavorful and a nice breakfast treat.  They’d even make a fine supper.  Try them! 

Best Blueberry Pancakes


2 cups flour
¼ c. sugar
½ t. baking soda
2 ¼ t. baking powder
½ t. salt
2 eggs
2 c. buttermilk
¼ c. butter, melted
1 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.   
Whisk eggs, buttermilk and butter. 
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and blend just until the batter is lumpy, do not over mix.
Add drained blueberries and stir through.
Heat a griddle to medium-high heat.
Pour ¼ cup of batter onto hot griddle.
Flip when many bubbles appear on the surface.
Other side will cook quickly.
Serve immediately with butter and hot maple syrup.
12 servings

Here’s hoping a wonderful Thanksgiving was had by all!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Wishes from Our House to Yours!

Thanksgiving Day is the day to reflect on what we have to be thankful for and count our blessings; giving thanks to God.   I am thankful for life itself and the good health of my family members, allowing all of us to be together today, smiling and laughing. 

With the pies made, the turkey and goose in the oven and fragrant aromas starting to permeate through the house, it’s time to take a short break before the big feast.  A Bloody Mary is not an exotic drink, but one that will fill your need to relax.  May all of you enjoy the day and give thanks for all!

Spicy Bloody Mary


24 ounces tomato juice
4 T. drained prepared horseradish, drained
6 ounces vodka
4-6 dashes hot sauce
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
¼ t. celery salt
½ t. pepper
6 T. lemon juice
Celery spears
Large olives

Pour all of the above ingredients, except celery spears and lemon wedges, in a glass pitcher and blend well.
Pour into glasses over ice.
Garnish with celery spears and olives.
Serve immediately.

Ode to Thanksgiving

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!

God Bless America 
and all of those in the military

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Butternut Squash Gratin

Freedom From Want

Norman Rockwell

It is doubtful if the Pilgrim’s had potatoes on their Thanksgiving table but, they most likely did have squash that the Indians brought with them to the feast.  In fact, most of the food at their first Thanksgiving, being American foodstuff, was new to the Pilgrim’s.  The main meal was corn meal mush with nuts and fruit, probably deer and game birds, squash and pumpkin.  "Squash, so American that its very name is Indian:  it is a shortening of the Narragansett 'askutashquash.'  As this means literally something that is eaten raw, we are entitled to believe that this was the way the Indians ate it."  - Eating in America, by Waverley Root and Richard de Rochemont

Did you like squash when you were a kid?  I do not remember ever eating squash as a child, maybe Mom did cook it occasionally but that doesn't mean I ate it.  One person's yummy food can be another person's yucky food but, new tastes can be acquired with just the right recipe!  I don't get quite as emotional about it as Mario Batali does though, "You know, when you get your first asparagus, or your first squash, or your first really good tomato of the season, those are the moments that define the cook's year.  I get more excited by that than anything else."

I probably changed when I ate a Squash Casserole somewhere and then learned to eat it baked with spices and Parmesan cheese and loved it. So now, Thanksgiving, is the perfect time for this delicious squash dish!  It is wonderful with all the seasonings, panko and the tasty cheese topping.

Think of squash this way, "You can enjoy it with the added advantage of not needing a tennis court or a racquet."  And if you don't have storage room for it, it will feel right at home sitting in your wine rack!

Butternut Squash Gratin                                                                               


1 T. butter
½ white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾” chunks
1t.brown sugar                                                                      
½ c. chicken broth
4 oz. gruyere or swiss cheese, shredded
4 oz. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
½ c. panko bread crumbs
¼ t. dried sage
¼ c. grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
Melt butter in skillet, stir in onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
Add squash and brown sugar.
Continue cooking and stirring until the squash begins to brown on the edges, but is still somewhat firm in the center, about 10 minutes more.
Scrape the squash into prepared baking dish and pour in the chicken broth.
Wrap tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake in oven until the liquid has been absorbed and the squash is tender, about 45 minutes.  In a bowl, toss together the Gruyere and cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs and thyme until evenly combined. 
Remove foil from the baking dish and sprinkle cheese mixture over squash.
Sprinkle parmesan on top.
Place back in oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes, until the top is slightly crunchy and golden brown.

Serves 6


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sufferin’ Succotash

A H Wray

Succotash is from the Narragansett Indian word ‘msikwatash’, meaning boiled corn kernels and that can’t begin to define this great tasting vegetable dish.    It is a traditional Thanksgiving dish that Mom always served.  Consisting mainly of lima beans and corn, it's a simple plain dish.  Sometimes, she added a little milk or cream to the dish, and so do I.

Hopefully, Mel Blanc was a fan of succotash because he certainly helped make “Sufferin’ succotash” famous!   He was the voice for Looney Tunes’ Sylvester the Cat; you know --- the cat with the slobbery lisp.  The expression is said to be a euphemism of “Sufferin’ Savior.”  Daffy Duck was known to say “Sufferin’ Succotash” also a time or two.  Enjoy your succotash!

Simply Succotash


1-10 oz. pkg. frozen baby lima beans
1 10 oz. pkg. frozen shoepeg corn
3 T. butter
½ t. salt
½ t. pepper
1/4 cup milk or cream, optional

In a large saucepan, bring water and lima beans to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add corn, return to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.
Drain corn and lima beans well.
Add butter, salt and pepper to corn mixture. 
Cook until vegetables are tender, about 2 more minutes.
Transfer to a serving dish.
4-6 servings

"Sufferin' succotash!"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Grandma’s Nut Bread

English Walnut Tree

I adored my grandmother, Maude!  We lived on our farm outside of Columbus, Ohio until I was 11 and moved to Louisville, KY. In Pickerington, Ohio, Grandma and Grandpa lived on the farm across the road, just down a little ways from us.  I was on my bike every day pedaling to her house to see what was going on.  She never scolded me, was always kind and loving.  I could do no wrong in her eyes and I loved her dearly and tried to live up to her expectations. 

Grandma was a good seamstress, sewing a lot of my clothing when I was young.  She loved her family and friends and also loved doing crossword puzzles, a slice of bread soaked in a glass of milk, reading scripture, watching the Ruth Lyons 50/50 Club every week-day on TV,  peanut cluster candy, aprons, watching Midwestern Hayride on Saturday nights, playing the piano, clipping recipes, Pepsi Cola, doilies, the foods she canned, their big black cat, “Mugs,” and especially Elvis Presley.  But, I’m sure, most of all, she loved giving all of her grandchildren a round of worm medicine each and every summer; she insisted upon it and to her credit, not one of us had worms!!!          

Grandma was a short small lady who always seemed to have her apron on, whether she was in the kitchen or not.  She was the mother of 7 kids and cooked for family and friends; actually, for anyone who showed up at the door.  I’ve got many happy memories of her and the best ones are of just talking to her while she was cooking or baking.  Grandma could cook some mean fried potatoes and I loved her cookies and this nutritious, delicious moist nut bread, which she baked every Thanksgiving.

Grandma’s Nut Bread


2 well-beaten eggs
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups buttermilk
4 cups flour, sifted
½ t. salt
1 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1 cup walnuts – whole

Beat eggs and sugar thoroughly with beater.
Add buttermilk, beat well.
Add sifted flour with salt, baking powder and soda.  Stir well.
Stir in whole walnuts.
Pour into 9x5 loaf pans.
Let stand for 10 minutes before baking.
Shake out air bubbles.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes-1 hours, until toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 2 loaves


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ultimate Thanksgiving Stuffing

The First Thanksgiving
Jean Louis Gerome Ferris

We may talk turkey at the Thanksgiving table but, what we really crave is stuffing or dressing, as I grew up calling it.  No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without a great stuffing.  It is definitely my favorite part of the dinner and we all have our favorite stuffing, for sure! 

A chef friend shared this recipe with me, and just one bite of this delicious stuffing will be enough for a chorus of “aahs” around the dinner table – it’s that good!  It is the absolute best stuffing and my family loves it. It has honors as our family traditional stuffing.  By adding Italian sausage, apples, pecans and Triple Sec, it is a moist and flavorful stuffing, distinctive from all others.

Stuffing is definitely the soul of Thanksgiving and this is by far the ultimate!  Just give it a try and it could be your traditional stuffing!

Ultimate Thanksgiving Stuffing


1 ½ cups dried cherries, or golden raisins*
1 ½ cups orange liqueur (I use Triple Sec)
½ cup butter
2 cups celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. Italian sausage, casing removed
1-16 oz. package stuffing mix
1 cup pecans, chopped
4 Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and chopped
½ cup butter, melted
2 cups water or chicken broth
1 t. ground sage
Salt & pepper, to taste

Place cherries in a small saucepan and cover with 1 cup of orange liqueur. 
Bring to a boil, remove from heat and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt ½ c. butter over medium heat.  Saute the celery and onion for about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Using the same skillet, cook the sausage until crumbled and brown.  Drain.
Combine the sausage and stuffing mix with the celery and onion mixture.
Stir in the cherries and liqueur mixture, pecans and apples.
Mix in melted butter, water, ½ cup orange liqueur. 
The stuffing should be completely moistened.
Season with sage, salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter a 15x10” baking dish well.
Place stuffing in prepared dish.

Cover with buttered foil and bake till heated through, about 1 hour.
Uncover and bake until top is crisp, about 15 minutes

8-10 servings. 

* Use any mixture of dried fruit you like:  cherries, cranberries, raisins, dates, etc.

It is incredibly delicious, the ultimate stuffing!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Family Chili Feud: 2 Versions

How do you like your chili:  very hot or milder, with pork or a little Jim Beam, with pasta or without?  Whichever way, I’ve got a recipe for you!

Our tastes run a little mild compared to our older son's. We like chili that’s tangy and spicy.  Bubba likes HOT SPICY chili.   Spicy and hot certainly sounds more interesting than sweet and mild and his is incredibly hot!  It has great ingredients and a delicious taste but, we eat his chili and our lips go numb and our tongues feel like they are on fire.

I would not dream of cooking chili without chili beans, or of not eating it in a bowl with spaghetti, cheese and onions covering it.  He can’t imagine why anyone would ruin a good bowl of chili with beans and spaghetti!

I worked on my recipe for a long time and it is a very distant cousin to the chili recipes I made years ago.  It was when I discovered that adding dark chocolate to chili is the secret for making a tasty, savory chili.  It makes a big difference in that there is a depth to it and it smoothes out the flavors of the spices, plus it gives it a beautiful deep red color.  This is the way I always prepare it now. It makes a lot for a crowd or will freeze well for later meals. 

My son has worked on his for several years also; it is perfected and a recipe he can always rely on.  It has the perfect combination of meat and that is what really adds to the great flavor.  Be sure to let his tasty chili simmer for 1-2 hours.

So, here they are, you decide which is better!

My version is the following:


4 lbs. ground beef
2 ½ to 3-46 oz. bottles tomato juice
1 large onion, chopped
2 or 3 T. brown sugar
1 t. salt
¾ c. chili powder
2 t. Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder, optional
1 T. garlic powder
2 t. cinnamon
1 T. paprika
2 T. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
3 16 oz. cans chili beans
spaghetti, cooked
cheddar cheese, grated
green onion, chopped

Brown meat and chopped onion, drain well, set aside. 
Pour tomato juice into large pan, bring to a boil.  
Add dry ingredients, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
Add meat mixture.
Simmer on low heat for at least a half hour, stirring occasionally,  do not boil. 
Place cooked spaghetti in bottom of soup bowl, pour chili on top.  Cover with grated cheddar cheese and green onion and enjoy.

There should be a warning with the following!

Bubba's version:


2lbs ground beef                     
2lbs ground pork
2lbs steak
6+ large jalapenos
1 jar hot salsa
2 large white onions
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste
Mesa flour
Jim Beam
Chili powder
Ground chipotle pepper
Crushed red pepper
Cayenne pepper
Hot sauce (Scorned Woman or The Hottest F***ing Sauce preferred.  If not available, Dave's Insanity Sauce works but use a little more)
Spicy marinade of choice
Garlic hot sauce if available (Dave's Roasted Garlic has a really good taste).

Put a roll of TP in the freezer.

Marinate steak in bowl with spicy marinade of choice overnight, and then cook (preferably on grill) and slice up into small bite size pieces.
Chop up the onion.
Slice the jalapeños.
Brown the ground meat one pound at a time, adding in onions, jalepenos, spices, and hot sauce.  Heavy on chili powder and ground chipotle.  No more than six drops of Scorned Woman per pound of meat.  Cayenne and red pepper also, if desired.
Empty 1/2 - 3/4 cup of Jim Beam, salsa, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste into a large pot on medium heat.
Fill tomato paste cans with water and empty in pot.
Put meat in pot.
Add hot sauce (6 - 12 drops), chili powder, more chipotle, cayenne, and red pepper to taste.
Stir, stir, stir for 1 - 2 hours on medium heat- try not to let it boil.
Add half a handful of mesa flour towards the end to thicken.  Go easy on it, too much and it will turn into concrete.  If a large portion is going to be refrigerated immediately, go very easy on mesa flour.

Makes a little over a crock-pot of butt-burning chili.

Hope you give them both a try!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Zesty Cranberry Chutney

Cranberries are ‘de rigueur’ with Thanksgiving turkey.  I like cranberries in any form and I’ve tried a lot of cranberry recipes over the years but, I really like this one.  This savory chutney has a good balance of tangy, sweet and spicy, with the addition of red pepper flakes, crystallized ginger and cinnamon.  It’s a great alternative to the standard cranberry sauce and goes wonderfully with turkey as well as pork, beef, chicken and seafood, or could also be an appetizer when spooned over cream cheese on a cracker. 

It’s an easy do-ahead side dish which would also make a delicious colorful, ‘jewel-looking’ gift in a jar for friends and neighbors during the holidays.  This is easily the best condiment for turkey sandwiches the next day if you haven’t been sneaking bites of it out the refrigerator!

I wonder how it would be over vanilla ice cream?

Zesty Cranberry Chutney


¼ c. dried apricots, finely chopped
½ c. golden raisins
½ c. brown sugar (I use Splenda)
1 c. water
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 t. lemon zest
½ t. cinnamon
¼ c. lemon juice
1 T. crystallized ginger
1 t. fresh ginger, grated 
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes

In a saucepan, combine apricots, raisins, brown sugar and water; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and stir for 5 minutes. 
Stir in remaining ingredients and cook for about 15 minutes, or until cranberries burst. 

Serve at room temperature or chilled.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sinful 3-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

Now, I’m not talking about fast food or diet food, I’m talking about the recipe I created for macaroni and cheese and it is sinful, having Fontina, cheddar and fresh parmesan cheese with a velvety creamy base.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, ‘dinner in a box,’ hit the grocery shelves in 1937, making an instant hit.  World War II boosted its ratings when rationing took hold and meat and milk products were rationed.  Rosie the Riveter had to fill in at the workplace for men who were at war so; this was the perfect food to prepare for an evening meal.  Since then, the number of recipes for macaroni and cheese are probably impossible to count but most of us like the basic dish.

We love macaroni and cheese from scratch and this is definitely not your kids’ macaroni and cheese, it’s the adult version! It is a creamy, custardy macaroni and cheese.  You do not have to make a roux for this as it is like custard with the eggs, milk and spices being whisked together and poured over the macaroni.  It’s great as a side dish or for lunch or a meatless supper. 

This is comfort food for the soul at its best and is spot on delicious!  It is sinful!

Sinful 3-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese


2 cps. raw macaroni
2 cps. Fontina cheese, grated
2 cps. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
4 eggs
1 1/2 cps. whole milk
1 t. salt
¼ t. fresh ground pepper
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
½ t. paprika
1 t. dry mustard
1 1/3 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
¼ t. cayenne

Grease 2 pt. baking dish.
Cook macaroni in boiling salted water until al dente, about 6 0r 7 minutes.  Drain well.
In baking dish, layer macaroni, onion, Fontina and cheddar cheese.
Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg, paprika and dry mustard.
Pour over macaroni mixture.
Spread parmesan cheese over top and sprinkle with cayenne.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until it is set and bubbly and a knife will come out clean. 

4-6 servings


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Boneless Pork Loin Roast with Herbed Pepper Rub

Are you hungry for a scrumptious dish to rescue you from everyday sameness?  This is it; try it, you’ll love it!

Pork loin roast is made fairly often in my house and the following recipe is a favorite of ours.  You will savor the aroma of a fragrantly herbed pork roast as it cooks in your oven!  Cracked pepper, rosemary, basil, thyme and parmesan cheese are at the heart of the recipe.  The leftover meat makes great barbecue.

It’s delicious, juicy and tender; giving maximum flavor with little effort and that’s what is so great about it.  The other white meat is the focus for a mouthwatering fall dinner!

Boneless Pork Loin Roast with Herbed Pepper Rub


1 3-pound boneless pork loin roast
2 T. cracked black pepper
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
2 t. dried basil
2 t. dried rosemary
2 t. dried thyme
¼ t. garlic powder
½ t. salt

Pat pork dry with paper towel. 

In small bowl, combine all rub ingredients well and apply to all surfaces of the pork roast.

Place roast in a shallow pan and roast in a 350 degree oven for about 1½-2 hours till meat thermometer registers 160 degrees for medium doneness.

Remove roast from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing to serve. 


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Favorite Pie Crust

Make a paste

Gather into a ball

Roll out the pastry

Now that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it is time to bake pies and I would like to share with you my favorite pie crust recipe.
We love pies but, the art of pie baking eluded me for years.  It had nothing to do with the filling; it was all about making a good, flaky crust.  My mother had a reputation for her excellent pies and I watched her make them many times.  In fact, I even made one along side of her once.
Mom could do this so well with little effort but, I could not get the ‘touch’ at all!  It would not incorporate well; had too much water or not enough, or else broke into pieces when it was rolled out.  It always stuck to the board or counter and was nearly unfeasible for me to pick the dough up and place it in the pie pan, forget trying to patch it.  Mom did it effortlessly in one swift motion.  I was ready to give up on it and just buy those ready-made crusts in the grocery store.
Then, Aunt Ruth came to the rescue and gave me a pie crust recipe that was almost impossible to mess up, she said!  And she was right!  She told me a friend gave her this recipe many years ago when she was learning to bake.  It is different in that a paste is made and added to the flour.  I have always used this recipe ever since because it never fails – is always flaky and delicious!
Mom’s pie crust recipe for a 2 crust pie:
2 cps. flour
2/3 c. Crisco
1 ½ t. salt
Her method: 
Add water by teaspoon and feel of dough.  Roll out and work fast!
Aunt Ruth’s (and my) recipe for a 2 crust pie:
2 ¼ cps sifted flour
¼ c. cold water
1 t. salt
¾ c. Crisco
Her method:
Measure flour into mixing bowl, then take out 1/3 cup flour and put in a smaller bowl.  Mix the cold water into the 1/3 cup flour, making a thick paste.
Add salt and Crisco to flour in large bowl and knead until crumbly (I use a pastry blender).  
Add the flour paste.  Stir till just combined.  Roll out on floured surface.

This recipe will not fail.  It makes a delicious tender, flaky crust.  If I can do it, anyone can!